|By Khalis Rifhan
The English Premier League [EPL] Masters made its debut at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last Sunday, with more than 7,000 fans filling up the seats to see their idols in action.
The EPL All-Stars were crowned as champions after victory in the final against the Singapore 1994 Dream Team led by Fandi Ahmad, with Liverpool and Manchester United Legends teams also taking part.
Apart from the tournament, fans were also able to meet up with the former EPL stars at other events such as a carnival, held prior to the Masters, as well as a meet-and-greet session organized by the official partners.
The man responsible for bringing the Masters here is Robert Teasdale, the CEO of Football Focus Asia, who described the tournament as a success and said it had surpassed initial expectations.
“For the first year, we are really pleasantly surprised by the turnout [and the] excitement, and [the] passionate fans we got in Singapore. It was indeed a good result for us," said a delighted Teasdale.
“We did not expect such support as we knew it would be challenging when we came to Singapore, because they had the F1 Grand Prix weeks before the Masters.”
Fans who missed out on the action this time round do not have to despair, as plans are underway to make the Masters a permanent fixture in Singapore’s footballing calendar.
“EPL Masters is an event that is always going to be an annual calendar event in any country that we go into," explained Teasdale.
“We started in 2008 and [have] been back to Bangkok, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur in 2011. So as soon as we [have] established an event in a country, we always schedule ourselves to return the following year.
“We want to build something over time, and of course the players are also looking forward to come back to Singapore next year.”
Teasdale was also grateful for the reception they have received in Singapore and also expressed satisfaction at how both supporters and players have enjoyed themselves.
“We had a really good time and everyone that we met has been hospitable to us and the players," said Teasdale.
"The fans are all courteous and polite at the various events. They got to meet the players, take pictures and got their autographs.
“The players really appreciate that as they are allowed their own space and at the same time, the fans are happy and players can enjoy themselves as well.”